Azores to Portugal: Day 6

A low pressure is passing by us and giving us some wonderful South winds. These are a welcome change as they mean we can make some East miles! 

We could use these South winds to run due North and make that distance needed, but why not try and get as far East as we can?

Our goal is not to hit a particular latitude, our goal is to hit Porto, Portugal. 

Traditionally, the winds in this area require you to sail North to around 47N, but that is not a hard and fast rule. The winds lately have been really weird, so the choice is to sail to an arbitrary point or try to sail to our destination.

For the sake of morale on board, we choose to sail towards Portugal and shave our distance to destination down a bit.

Azores to Portugal: Day 5

The winds have shifted further and are now blowing out of the NNE. We can either sail West or South East. Sadly, the current in this particular part is pulling us South, so even though our bow is pointing due East, our Course Over Ground is still South East. While we are now gaining our Eastern miles, we are sacrificing our Norther miles. 

It really feels like we are just out here fighting an impossible battle against winds that are not in our favor.

It seems pretty weird to be sailing in the Westerlies, an area famous for having winds blow out of the West, and have to deal with constant East and North winds.

Will we be taking the whole way?

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Azores to Portugal: Day 4

We are heading North for two reasons. First, we need to travel higher than the Azores High which extends next to us to our East so that we can sail with good winds (following winds) all the way to Portugal. The second reason we are sailing North is the winds will not allow anything else.

The winds have been blowing out of the East for the past week and show no signs of letting up. While we have ultimate freedom and can point our bow in any direction and reach any land we desire, the wind holds us captive and set in reality. We can point our bow any direction we would like, but the wind will only propel us in a few directions. The only direction that suits us at the moment is the Northern option.

The winds are starting to shift and move from the East to the North East, which is forcing us to choose to sail North West or South East. 

We need the Northern component of the NW course, so we are technically backtracking while still working towards our destination. 

I am able to view a NW course while we are trying to sail to an Eastern destination as progress while Maddie just feels us getting farther and farther from our destination.

Azores to Portugal: Maddie’s Day 3

Day 3

Being on the boat is odd. I don’t know whether to feel ultimate freedom or total entrapment. We can go wherever we please and we are constantly moving through the water, skimming along so that the whole world seems more accessible than ever, but at the same time, our whole world has been reduced to this tiny space where everything is squished and jostling about. We’re free to go wherever we please, but we’re at the complete mercy of the wind and waves. One is bliss, one is torture. Yesterday was more on the blissful side of things, but today has been a challenge. I have barely moved from the quarter birth because waves keep crashing into the cockpit and it’s freezing outside. I want to get up and cook, but everything takes an extra bit of effort. I have to remember to be thankful for this adventure, but sometimes I just feel stuck on this wobbly oval in the middle of an ocean that doesn’t want me here. 

Azores to Portugal: Day 3

Speed or comfort, never both for us. Our average speed for most of the day was 5.8 knots. This was thanks to a low pressure system that has moved in bringing a lot of wind and rain. 

While most of the leaks in our deck have been fixed during our refit in the Azores, some new ones seemed to have developed. I spent the day cleaning up after the small drips and taking care of Maddie with her debilitating sea sickness. 

All of this wind meant lots of speed to surf over the large waves and send everything inside flying as we would pound into the trough. 

It was a rough day but we did cover a lot of needed miles. We are now north enough to turn towards Porto as soon as the winds will allow it.